Bryn Mawr Film Institute

824 W. Lancaster Avenue,
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

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Showing 1 - 25 of 30 comments

HowardBHaas on July 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I’ve added to photos 4 of my photos from the Left auditorium of details of original designs on the ceilings & walls, in paint & plaster. Coat of arms in ceiling! Angels in plaster on walls!

Eric Evans
Eric Evans on August 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Bryn Mawr, a good Welsh name which means a Large Hill, for all I know there may not be a hill at all in the region, but it was of course named by Welsh immigrant miners, which came I assume from the village of the same name in Wales.

HowardBHaas on April 26, 2011 at 5:59 am

Here’s link to yesterday’s article:
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Beautiful Theatre thanks for the pictures,Guys.

HowardBHaas on April 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Interview in today’s Phila. Inquirer with Juliet Goodfriend, who states current plan is to add 2 new screens on parking lot space, and refurbish existing auditoriums.

HowardBHaas on March 8, 2010 at 10:59 am

Today’s news:
Bryn Mawr Film Institute Celebrates on Oscar Night

View link

by KYW’s Kim Glovas

Not only is it Oscar night in Hollywood on Sunday, it was Oscar night at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute was the setting for the “Bling Fling,” a fundraiser, and as Juliet Goodfriend, the president of the film institute says, a “fun raiser”:

“We’re celebrating the Oscars which coincide with our fifth birthday, and we’re also selling people’s donations of jewelry, so it’s a Bling Fling. I think we’ll be happy if we raise $10,000 to $20,000.”

The patrons were dressed in long black silky dresses with rhinestones, suits, and some jeans and khakis, but mostly dressed up to celebrate the Oscars and to root on their favorite films.

AP Oscar Coverage

Brynmawrfilm on September 17, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Thanks for taking the time to comment on BMFI. We invite you to contact us directly so that we can help make the theater the best possible theater experience for you.

J. Goodfriend 610 527 4008 ext 101.

filmbuff45 on September 15, 2007 at 5:19 pm

I go to the BMFI on a regular basis and support what they are doing but have to agree with you on a few points Mainlinedoc. I have noticed that during the winter months you have to layer up, otherwise you will freeze. I have also noted that the theatres have not changed but hope that they will soon. As for the films being “fourth run” I go to the ritz if I really want to see a movie when it first comes out. Finally my suggestion about the plot points being told to you is show up a little late thats my trick to avoid that.

MainLineDoc on September 13, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Sir I appreciate your reply as well. I understand many of your points also but as a past customer of the theatre I felt I should have a place to air my concerns and complaints. The seats did in fact cut my wifes pants and her leg we did report it and the service was a little under par. I feel that the theatre managment should be made aware of this. The manager we spoke with seemd to not take much notice of the problem and said he would report it to the main office. I never heard back from them. As for the wall in the theatre that is my opinon yes, and perhaps the design is not the fault of the curent owners but what is their fault is the fact that we as members were promised four years ago that we would see our money go to good use within the movie theatres we visit. So far I have not seen this happen. I loved the idea of an indie art house movie theatre in the main line I support that idea. I showed my support by becoming a member.I sat through the opening talks and did not mind the construcion look of the theatre for the first two years. All I am saying sir is that actions speak louder than words when we were promised a new theatre by Mrs Goodfriend that would show in her own words “First run art house films” We belived that and so far four years later things seem to have gotten worse not better. Perhaps I have not seen the bigger picture involved in putting together a movie theatre but on think I do know how to do is run a buisness and one of the first things I learned in operating my own buisness is that the customer may not be always right but dont lie to him or he will never return uphold the promises you make and the rest will follow. I would have been a happy man if the Bryn Mawr had lived up to what it promised as you posted your self above it is the theatre “In Most Need of Improvment”

HowardBHaas on September 13, 2007 at 5:55 pm

I meant to state that it is a different experience seeing films on a movie screen than seeing them via video in your home. I didn’t mean to imply that Center City arthouses aren’t showing the films on a real movie screen-of course they do, and many of them aren’t huge screens either.

HowardBHaas on September 13, 2007 at 5:52 pm

I’m not part of the management of the Bryn Mawr, but I do know that the wall that went down somewhat in the middle of the historic auditorium in the 1980’s, likely by Budco, twinned the auditorium. It did mean that the screens aren’t huge. However, any person with 20/20 vision (or corrected with glasses with such), will not have any problem seeing the screens! The auditoriums have remained their current size, and were profitable for Budco, AMC, United Artists, and the independent movie operator who followed and who would have liked to have stayed. In other words, movie patrons have under successive operators, with films that have ranged from mainstream to arthouse (currently arthouse) have voted YES to the Bryn Mawr Theatre. Of course, if you don’t like the auditoriums, that’s your business and you need not return.

Your griping though seems a bit far fetched. If you “cut” yourself on the chairs, did you contact the theater management and tell them?

Your characterization of “toys and trinkets” is flat out insulting to the volunteers and community supporters who have made the revitaliztion of the theater a priority! Everything that has been done so far has been to better serve the community.

Most arthouse movies do first play downtown exclusives, as they have for at least 30 years. It is a different experience seeing them in 35 mm on a movie screen, and as long as the film prints are good, being shown later isn’t perceived by customers a problem at all the other suburban Philadelphia arthouses.

MainLineDoc on September 13, 2007 at 5:14 pm

First off I would like to thank you for your reply Patricia
I noticed that a few things I mentioned were not brought up. The theatre itself is a great idea but you need to have a place where people want to watch the movie. Seats that are uncomfortable, and that injure your customers must be replaced. Staff that seems to think they are \doing you a favor as the patron by serving you need to be taken care of and trained properly. A lobby that is dangerous to people yet stays open is a shameful thing. This gives the impression to your patrons that you just don’t care about us. That you want our money for your own toys and trinkets and damn the donators. Also no one wants to watch a movie after hearing major plot points or being hit up for money the umpteenth time. Finally you neglected the main issue, the theatre. This is where we your customers get to see what our money has accomplished and to be honest I feel like I am watching a screen from a distance that is so great a person with 20/20 vision would have trouble seeing the picture. Although usually it has taken you so long to get the film it is already out on video. I am hearing the movie from the theatre next to it playing through the wall as I try to listen to the picture playing in front of me. All of these problems not getting fixed outweigh all the elevators or community rooms both of which I as the average customer will never get to see or use. On a final note my wife has taken a “class” with the BMFI and noted to me that the class consisted of watching a movie and then talking about it for 20 minutes then going home. I don’t know if this is the norm as she never took another but I have heard from people that this is how they are usually run. A film class should focus on discussing the films and certainly watching them as well but equal time should be given to both parts. I did not have the energy to get into the café one thing I will say about it though is that the hours of operation must have been for decoration because although the operating hours state it should be open time after time I found myself staring at a closed sign instead of a hot cup of coffee

I appreciate your taking the time to comment on my concerns and hope that my suggestions can help you change some of the problems.

HowardBHaas on September 12, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Recent news article:

The volunteers, staff, and especially the crusading leader, Juliet Goodfriend, should be commended for the great work they’ve done so far at the Bryn Mawr!

Brynmawrfilm on September 11, 2007 at 11:44 am

I have been working for several years to raise money for the Bryn Mawr Film Institute restoration, and I would like to respond to some of MainLineDoc’s comments. Since re-opening the theater in March, 2005 (only two years ago) the following work has been done on the theater building:
 Projection and sound equipment upgraded
 Lobby refurbished
 Community Room created
 New marquee installed
 Café opened
 New roof over the anterior of the building
 New fire protection system installed
 Elevator installed
 Four new accessible restrooms
 New electrical and water service
 State-of-the-art multimedia classroom
 Glass monitor over the skylight rebuilt
 Repair of skylight in progress
Much of this work is hidden from view, but is the necessary and responsible work that must be done before the cosmetic finishes can be updated. Far from being in worse shape, the 80-year-old building is being brought, thoughtfully and carefully, into the 21st century. The restoration has been recognized by The National Park Service (with a listing on the National Register), The Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission, as well as local preservation organizations.

The screening room to which MainLineDoc refers is a new state-of-the-art multimedia classroom, which opened to the public for the first time at a film festival in March, 2007, with Robert Osborne officiating. Numerous public events and film education courses are regularly held in this beautiful new facility. Many local nonprofit organizations and civics groups have used this new community amenity for their programs and meetings. It is in almost constant use by the public, and I would be happy to show it to MainLineDoc at any time.

BMFI is fortunate to have over 6,000 supportive and patient members who recognize the amount of effort and financial resources necessary to restore the theater. We rely on and value that support, and hence I encourage MainLineDoc to contact the Institute directly so that we can further address his concerns.

BMFI was recently named Best Place for Movie Buffs by Philadelphia Magazine, so we must be doing something right!

tomdelay on September 11, 2007 at 9:26 am

Gee, this sounds like the late State Theatre Preservation Group in Monterey, CA. After years of trying to look active a private party came in and bought the theatre leaving the preservation group with some high discount tee-shirts and sweat shirts to sell.

A parting shot of this thankfully defunct group? One of their board members had the brass to ask the new owner of the theatre to place a star in the sidewalk as you enter the theatre hearalding their years of “work” on the theatre. A star on the underside of a toilet seat would have been more appropriate. It is beyond me why projects such as this seem to attract great people with big preservationist words and little effort toward the ultimate goal of saving the theatre.

MainLineDoc on September 11, 2007 at 7:46 am

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute has done nothing it promised its patrons. First of all myself and a few of my friends have decided not to re-up our memberships. Why? I was really excited when they announced Ritz style movies in the Main Line. They never told us that the movies would be fourth run. Which I did not mind at first but four years later? Second they promised us that they would fix the theatre for our contribution. Four years later the theatre is in worse shape then befor the roof above the ticket office is falling in and has almost hit me, the lobby smells like dead fish, and the seats in the theatre (which they promised to change four years ago) have cut myself and my wife more then once. The only improvment I have heard of is a screening room which is closed off to the public. Why did we as members have to pay for something we can’t use. I read an article on this site that said it was the theatre that needed the most improvment. I agree. My final comment is that when I come to a movie I dont want to be told anything about the movie which the president of the theatre constantly tells us as she introduces the film and then hits us up for more money when its obvious that all our previous donations have gone to waste.

Brynmawrfilm on November 27, 2006 at 10:38 am

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) has breathed new life into the former Seville Theater. Even in the midst of major capital improvements, BMFI screens the best in documentary, independent, international, and reperatory film 7 days a week. Operating as a nonprofit, community based theater with over 5700 members, BMFI also offers a growing roster of film education courses taught by university-level instructors and an innovative film-based visual literacy course for elementary school students. Among the awards received by BMFI are:
2006 Main Line Times Readers' Choice Award – Best Movie Theater
2006 Suburban Readers' Choice Award – Best Movie Theater
2006 Main Line Today Best of the Main Line Award – Best Movie Night
To read what the Philadelphia Inquirer had to say about BMFI, go to: View link

HowardBHaas on November 22, 2006 at 5:06 am

Most in Need of Improvement
With a lot of hype but no attention paid to projection, a lackadaisical staff and two screens carved from what was once a single house, the admittedly still-under-redevelopment Bryn Mawr Film Institute has miles to go before it reaches its goal of being the center of cinema outside the city. Midnight Movies, which is generally projected in 35 mm, can’t make up for a totally unsatisfying visual experience and inconsistent sound. A grave letdown made all the more ignominious by its promise.

in Philadelphia Weekly today:
View link

tomdelay on January 4, 2006 at 10:25 am

A small Wurlitzer pipe organ was once installed in the Bryn Mawr Theatre. The organ was reposessed by the Wurlitzer factory. Parts of this organ are in the Catholic Cathedral Wurlitzer pipe organ in Monterey, CA. The air regulator for the Bryn Mawr organ (Wurlitzer opus 616 style 109) has been in the Cathedral organ since its installation in 1936. In traditional Wurlitzer blue grease pencil the regulator reads “Bryn Mawr”.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on January 4, 2006 at 8:37 am

The Bryn Mawr Film Institude, then known as Bryn Mawr Theatre, was twinned by Budco Theatres between April 1977 and December 1979.

JDM on May 27, 2005 at 7:04 pm

I remember the great days when we kids from town would be given 25 cents for admission and 10 cents for popcorn or juicy fruits and head up in a group for the Saturday afternoon matinee in the 1950’s. In the beginning of the decade there were still drawings done for prizes, you would have to walk up to the stage if you won and would claim your prize at the end of the drawing. There were literally hundreds of children there for matinee, all day cartoons were sometimes shown with no feature and there was an organ in the theater for a few years in the early to mid 1950’s but that was taken out I think by 1960 or so.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 7, 2005 at 7:16 am

A photo from January, 2004:
View link

teecee on February 26, 2005 at 7:11 am

The theater has just joined the consortium of the County Theater (Doylestown, PA) and the Ambler (Ambler, PA).
Here is their website:

Tel 610-527-9898
Can’t wait to go there!

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on February 25, 2005 at 9:19 pm

I alwasy assumed the original World Theatre was owned by William Goldman Theatres (now operating as AMC Theatres). and I believe the new World Theatre was built on the site of the then-demolished Stanley Theatre.

On a sidenote, The Bryn Mawr has several owners, the first being William Goldman/Budco/AMC Theatres. AMC sold the Bryn Mawr to United Artists in the mid 1990’s, who then operated it until 2000, when the closed the Bryn Mawr and The Ardmore.

In early March 2005, The Bryn Mawr will reopen, I don’t know if it will still be a twin, or if it will be back to a single screen.